EPA waste data release 10 Nov. 2022. Latest reference year 2020 (Data subject to Eurostat validation)
Municipal waste is made up of household waste and commercial waste that is similar to household waste. The EPA reports data on how much municipal waste is generated and how it is treated.
Our national municipal waste data releases are based on information compiled in line with European rules. For reporting year 2020, Europe changed those rules and the municipal information from 2020 onwards is therefore not directly comparable to earlier data.
Applying the new rules, Ireland generated 3.2 million tonnes of municipal waste in 2020 and recycled 41 per cent of it.
In our everyday lives we produce a general mix of waste in our homes, offices, schools and similar premises. This type of waste is called municipal waste. It is usually collected at kerbside or we can bring it to collection centres e.g. bring banks or civic amenity facilities. The amount of municipal waste generated is an important measure of how wasteful our everyday lives are.
Municipal Waste includes the following waste types:
Table 1. Municipal waste generated, managed and treated in 2020
|Year||Total generated (t)||Recycled (t)||Composted (t)||Incineration with Energy Recovery (R1) (t)||Landfill (D1-7, D12) (t)||Incineration on land (D10) (t)||Unmanaged (t)|
Table 2 Municipal waste generated by origin
Table 3. Municipal waste generated by type of waste in 2020, compared with 2019
Table 4. Export of municipal waste in 2020, compared with 2019
|Total (t)||Recycled (t)||Composted (t)||Incineration with Energy Recovery (R1) (t)||Landfill (D1-7, D12) (t)||Incineration on land (D10) (t)|
Figure 2. Ireland's generation and recycling of municipal waste compared to EU targets.
Figure 3. Trends in the management of municipal waste in Ireland, 2010 to 2020.
Figure 4. Tonnage of municipal waste generated and gross national disposable income, 2010 to 2020.
The 2020 data highlight the need for implementing policy measures to prevent municipal waste and break the link between economic growth and waste generation. The most recent data shows the municipal waste generation trend is going in the wrong direction and increasing steadily. Over the last five years of reporting, municipal waste generation has grown by over 440,000 tonnes, a 16% increase in the quantity reported in 2016. Correlating trends between municipal waste generation and disposable income (refer to Figure 4) over this period suggest a strong link between economic and waste growth.
The quantity of waste recycled has kept pace with the increases in waste generation, and the rate of recycling has therefore changed little. In 2016 and 2020, recycling was at 41 per cent. The gap to the 2025 target is considerable (14 per cent) and cannot be bridged without targeted interventions.
The measures in place to curb municipal waste generation and/or increase recycling include waste treatment levies, waste collection charges, enforcement action, awareness-raising campaigns and education.
Waste composition analysis carried out by EPA in 2018 documents that almost 70 per cent of non-household waste collected in residual bins could be recycled if it had been placed into the recycling or organic waste collection. The introduction of a mandatory incentivised charging system for non-household municipal waste is a measure required to incentivise waste reduction and boost Ireland's recycling percentages.
Our national municipal waste data releases are based on information that is in line with the data we submit to Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union) to fulfil our municipal waste reporting obligations. For reporting year 2020, Eurostat changed the reporting rules for municipal waste. The Irish information published in 2019 and earlier years is therefore not directly comparable to the information released from reporting year 2020 on.
The data we submit to Eurostat satisfy our reporting requirements under the Waste Framework Directive, the Landfill Directive and the OECD/Eurostat Joint Questionnaire. The data are to be submitted at the end of Q2 of the reference year +2. Following validation by Eurostat, official statistics for Ireland and all Member States are published on the Eurostat website as part of the ‘Municipal waste by waste management operations’ dataset. Data on municipal waste recycling rates for Member States are also published on the Eurostat website
View information about how the EPA compiles and reports Official European Waste Statistics.
 This roughly corresponds to 39 per cent when adjusted to the rules in place for 2019 and suggests a moderate improvement on the 37 per cent of municipal waste Ireland recycled in 2019.
 The recycling percentages under the revised WFD are set to increase to 55 per cent from 2025, 60 per cent from 2030 and 65 per cent from 2035.